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John Shaffer Phipps

John Shaffer Phipps
Born 1874
Allegheny, Pennsylvania,
United States
Died April 27, 1958
Palm Beach, Florida,
United States
Residence 1 Sutton Place, New York City,
Westbury, New York,
Palm Beach, Florida
Education Yale University
Occupation Financier, lawyer, polo player, real estate developer
Board member of Hanover Bank, U.S. Steel Corp., W. R. Grace & Co.
Spouse(s) Margarita Celia Grace
Children John Henry
Michael Grace
Hubert Beaumont
Margaret "Peggie" Helen
Parents Henry Phipps &
Anne Childs Shaffer
File:Phipps 4057732639 b32dcc0c69 o.jpg
Children of John Shaffer Phipps

John Shaffer Phipps (1874 - May 12, 1958) was an American lawyer and businessman who was an heir to the Phipps family fortune and a shareholder of his father-in-law's Grace Shipping Lines.


Known as "Jay", he was the son of Pittsburgh steel magnate and major philanthropist, Henry Phipps. Jay Phipps was a director of the Hanover Bank, U.S. Steel Corp. and W. R. Grace & Co.

On November 4, 1903, John Shaffer Phipps married Margarita Celia Grace at Battle Abbey in Battle, East Sussex, England. [1] She was the daughter of Michael P. Grace and niece of William Russell Grace, Irish immigrants who became very successful in business. John and Margarita had four children. They were: John Henry Phipps, Michael Grace Phipps, Hubert Beaumont Phipps, and Margaret Helen Phipps who married J. Gordon Douglas Jr.[1]

John amassed almost 2,500 acres (10 km2) of rolling Virginia farm lands in The Plains, Virginia including Brenton, an 1889 stone manor house. A polo player and Thoroughbred racehorse owner, the property assembled from 1928 onwards would be the site of his Rockburn Stud farm. Upon his death in 1957 it passed to son, Hubert.

Phipps purchased an old 160-acre (0.65 km2) Quaker farm on Long Island where he built a large mansion with magnificent gardens that following his death was became a non-profit organization that today is known as Westbury House & Gardens and is open to the public. In the 1920s he purchased a secveral large properties in West Palm Beach, Florida including one that was once used as a pineapple plantation. He subdivided the property and turned it into the three largest subdivisions containing luxury residential homes in what is now the El Cid Historic District. John Phipps built a home for himself he called "Casa Bendita." A large oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, it was designed in 1921 by architect Addison Mizner. Today, the property is occupied by his granddaughter, Susan Phipps Cochran, and her husband.

John Shaffer Phipps died on April 27, 1958 in Palm Beach, Florida.[2]


  1. "Miss Peggie Phipps Engaged To Marry. Her Betrothal To J. Gordon Douglas Jr. Is Announced By Her Parents. Members Of Old Families. She Is A Granddaughter Of The Late M. P. Grace and Of Henry Phipps, Carnegie's Partner.". New York Times. August 28, 1930. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0C10FA385C11738DDDA10A94D0405B808FF1D3. Retrieved 2010-03-29. "Mr. and Mrs. John S. Phipps of this city, Palm Beach, Fla., and Westbury House, Westbury, L.I., have announced the engagement of their only daughter, Miss Peggie Phipps, to J.Gordon Douglas Jr., son of J. Gordon Douglas of this city and Mrs. Grafton Winthrop Minot of New York and Newport, R.I." 
  2. "Died". Time magazine. May 12, 1958. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,863430,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-20. "John Shaffer Phipps, 83, financier, lawyer, polo player and father of polo players, lavish traveler (he once hired a private, nine-car train—three for ponies, three for people, three for baggage—for a trip to Florida, also took more than 100 trunks on a European voyage), owner of race horses (Parnassus, Level Lea); in Palm Beach, Fla. Son of Andrew Carnegie's partner Henry Phipps, and uncle of Pologician Winston Guest, John Phipps was a director of U.S. Steel Corp., W. R. Grace & Co., the Hanover Bank." 

Further reading

  • Halcyon Days: An American Family Through Three Generations by Peggie Phipps Boegner (daughter of John Shaffer Phipps), Richard Gachot (1987) Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 0-8109-1064-0


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